Prince’s winners flooded with calls

Marc Hayes of Drenched with a patented water saving nozzle
Marc Hayes of Drenched with a patented water saving nozzle

A start-up Doncaster company says business has gone crazy since it won Prince Andrew’s pitching competition in Sheffield, with a water-saving device.

Drenched, of Doncaster, has made its first commercial sale - to global chemicals firm Unilever - and spoken to business advisers, bankers and potential customers, including the Minister of Water in Saudi Arabia.

The firm makes a nozzle which turns tap water into a spray so fine that just two tablespoonsful are needed to wash hands, 90 per cent less than normal.

It was among 17 start-ups that had three minutes on stage at Prince Andrew’s Pitch@Palace contest at the University of Sheffield’s Factory 2050 last week.

Director Marc Hayes said the win was the most amazing thing that had ever happened to the company, which he set up with inventor Wes Sugden-Brook two years ago. The pair worked day jobs and used their own funds to set up Drenched, which is now based on Doncaster Airport Business Park.

Marc added: “This win has propelled us to another level. We’re getting real respect from people, including potential customers and it’s really helped the work we are doing in the Middle East where the prince’s name has influence.

“Our first sale, to Unilver, was a symbolic moment. It was only for 10 nozzles worth £100 but it will save them £1,500 in water alone.”

Marc said the Minister of Water in Saudi had expressed an interest in 6m nozzles for taps in mosques across the country, which relies on desalinated water.

He added: “We’re excited and relieved. It’s taken us two years to get to this stage.”

The pair go to a ‘bootcamp’ to fight for place in the final at St James’s Palace on November 2.